All Btvs and HP characters belong to their respective owners and as always I'm not making any profit from this fic.A/N:
Apologies for the slight delay, work has been hectic this week with all the Christmas sales (ugh -_-') so I've not had much time to get writing. On a plus note, all the extra time away from writing has given me lots of ideas for this story and the next installment in the series :).
Chapter 20: The Return
He could hear someone screaming.
It took him a few moments to realise the sound was coming from his own lips. This couldn't be happening to him, it just couldn't.
“Why are you doing this?! Why kill Cedric?!”
The man who had captured him had stepped away, ignoring Harry's yells as he conjured up a large cauldron and set a fire underneath.
Once the mixture inside the bowl was beginning to boil the man stepped away, disappearing out of Harry's field of vision.
Struggling against the statues unnatural grip, Harry cried out in frustration and fear, his heart pounding in his chest. There was no way he could escape, and he had dropped his wand at his feet when the statue had grabbed him. If what the man said was true, he was trying to bring Voldemort back, and Harry would be unable to defend himself.
The dark haired man came back into his vision, carrying what looked like a bundle of cloths, but the closer he came, the more Harry came to realise how wrong that assumption was.
As the truth was finally dawning on him, a searing pain ran through Harry's head, making him cry out once again. The scar on his forehead was burning, he had never felt anything like it before.
The man dropped the bundle of robes into the cauldron, grinning the entire time. There was a loud splash and the man searched inside the cauldron with his eyes, before they raised up to stare towards Harry. Holding his wand out the man muttered under his breath.
“Bone of the father, unknowingly given. You will renew your son!”
Harry watched as the stone beneath his feet cracked open, and a handful of dust floated through the air and into the cauldron.
The sudden flash of silver alerted Harry to the dagger that was once again in the man's hand, but as Harry struggled to free himself he realised that the blade was not meant for him.
“Flesh of the servant, willingly given. You will revive your master.”
The man stood beside the Cauldron and lifted up his arm, tugging up the sleeve of his jacket until it reached his elbow. His hand with the dagger rose upwards, and in one quick motion he had sliced off his hand, the dagger easily cutting through flesh and bone.
The severed hand fell into the cauldron with a loud splash. Grabbing up his wand in his other hand, he groaned as he magically wrapped his blooded arm in bandages. Then fishing deep down into his pocket, the man pulled out a small vial of purple liquid and poured it down his throat.
Harry felt ill as he watched. The man had just cut his own hand off and had acted as if it hadn't even hurt! Just who was this man?
Once the dagger was back in his hand, the stranger's eyes shot back up to Harry, that grin playing on his lips again.
He knew there was no chance of escaping, and yet he still struggled within the statues grip, his eyes never leaving the advancing man. Once he was within reaching distance, the man tugged Harry's sleeve just as he had done to his own, before grabbing Harry's arm and holding it in a vice like grip.
“Blood of the enemy forcibly taken. You will resurrect your foe.”
The blade was suddenly pressed against Harry's skin and a thin trickle of blood ran down his arm. Leaning backwards, the man laughed as he stepped back to the cauldron, raising the dagger over the mixture and waiting for a few drops of blood to fall.
The mixture began bubbling, sparks of green flying everywhere. After a few long seconds, the liquid turned pure white.
The man stepped back, never taking his eyes away from the cauldron as he knelt down, slightly bowing his head in silent respect. And moments later a white figure rose inside the cauldron.
Harry's eyes widened in fear as the mixture began to slip away from the figure, revealing the person underneath. They were tall, their skin a pale white while their eyes gleamed dark, blood red.
Voldemort had returned.
“My Lord.” The man kneeling on the floor seemed to shrink even more, his head ducking lower.
Voldemort looked over the man's head, his eyes taking in Harry, who was silently wincing, his head once again alight with pain.
“You may rise.” Voldemort's voice was cold and cruel as he stared at his servant, watching as the man got back to his feet before he began to study his own body, holding his hands and arms out in front of himself for inspection. “You have done well, Barty. You will be rewarded greatly for this.”
“Thank you, my Lord.”
“But first, your arm...”
Barty nodded, stepping over to Voldemort until they were right next to each other and holding out his uninjured arm.
Voldemort roughly pulled up his sleeve revealing the faded tattoo, the dark mark, before pressing his index finger to it.
“It is back. They will all have noticed it, and now we shall see. How many will be brave enough to return to me, I wonder?”
Barty hissed in disgust as he stepped away from Voldemort. “They will be fools to ignore your call.”
Voldemort's eyes travelled over to Harry, and a small smirk pulled at his lips. “You stand, Harry Potter, upon the remains of my late father, a muggle and a fool... Very much like your own mother. But they both had their uses, did they not? Your mother died to defend you as a child, and I killed my father. And see how useful he has proven himself, in death.”
Another shot of pain ran through Harry's mind, making him cry out. Which in turn made Voldemort and Barty laugh.
“Ah but look, Harry. My true family returns...”
Forcing himself to ignore the pain, Harry turned his eyes to the sky where various plumes of black smoke were shooting towards them. Then one by one, they hit the ground and a figure, dressed all in black with a mask covering their faces, stepped out onto the grass.
As one they bowed to Voldemort, some of them looking to him in awe whereas others looked terrified. Together they stepped apart so that they formed a large circle, although there were various gaps within it, with Voldemort, Barty and Harry in the middle.
Barty then joined them and took up an empty place, his grin was still firmly in place.
“Welcome, Death eaters. Thirteen long years have passed since we last met. Though you all answer my call as if it were yesterday. We are still united under the dark mark, are we not?”
The death eaters stayed silent and still, some of them turning their gazes to their shoes.
“I smell guilt.” Voldemort sighed as he stared at them all, one at a time. “I see you all here, whole and healthy... And yet I begin to wonder, why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master? Did they truly believe I was gone? Perhaps they believed a still greater power existed and now pay allegiance to another...”
A lone death eater rushed forward, “Forgive me, master. Forgive us all!”
He was met with Voldemort's wand trailing on him. “You ask for forgiveness? I do not forgive, I do not forget. Crucio!”
Harry let out a gasp as he watched the man fall to his knees, crying out as the pain of the Cruciatus curse ran through his body.
Voldemort lifted the spell and glared at the man, who trembled on his hands and knees, pulling back to re-join the others in the circle.
“I want thirteen years of repayment from each of you before I forgive you.” Voldemort turned to walk around the circle, taking in each of the death eaters before he stopped in front of Barty, who looked angry and annoyed.
“That's it? You're not going to punish them? I am the only true servant here, master. It was I and I alone who allowed myself to be locked up in Azkaban rather than renounce my support of you, while these cowards hid away.”
“That is enough, Barty.” Voldemort's tone left no room for argument and the man quickly quietened down. “They will be punished, do not doubt that.”
The other death eaters shuffled in their places but Voldemort ignored them, his attention on Barty now.
“However, you are correct. Of all here, you are the only one to have continued to support me. It is down to you that I walk here tonight... And it was through your efforts that our young friend arrived tonight also.”
Harry felt his heart racing as all eyes turned to stare at him.
“How foolish it was to suppose that this boy could ever have beaten me...” Voldemort laughed, “I want no mistake in anybody's mind, so I am going to prove my power by killing him tonight, here right in front of you all.”
The statue's grip on Harry suddenly loosened and he fell to the floor, his legs giving way under him until he was sitting on the ground.
His wand was right next to him now, and he would at least be able to try and defend himself. But what could he possibly do to stop Voldemort? And if by some miracle, he did manage to stop Voldemort, there was still so many death eaters there surrounding him.
There was no escape, this was the end... It had to be.
Rising to his feet, Harry grabbed up his wand and faced his old enemy. If this was the day he died, then he was going to face his death, he was going to fight to the end, just like his father had.
“You have been taught how to duel, yes?” Voldemort asked as he took up his place opposite Harry. “First we bow.”
As Voldemort lowered down to bow, Harry shook his head and stubbornly refused to move. He saw Voldemort's eyes narrow into slits as he came back to full height.
“I said, bow.”
Harry couldn't help how his body moved on its own accord, as if he were a mere puppet and Voldemort was his puppet-master, pulling on his strings.
“Very good.” Voldemort laughed, and the death eaters laughed with him. “And now, we duel.”
As his opponent raised his wand, Harry dived to the side and the curse flew over the top of his head, hitting the stone statue and breaking a chunk of stone away from it.
Again Voldemort flung a jet of light at him, but using the techniques Buffy had taught him, Harry dodged it and ran behind the statue, using it to cover himself. He could hear the death eaters laughter as he steadied himself.
“We are not playing hide and seek, Harry.” Came Voldemort's frustrated voice. “You cannot hide from me.”
Knowing that he would walk around the statue to corner him, Harry took a deep breath and flung himself away from the stone, hoping to catch Voldemort by surprise.
Instantly he yelled out the only spell he could think of, the disarming spell. But at the same time Voldemort's voice boomed through the air, calling out the killing curse.
Voldemort's green bolt of light flew towards him, clashing with Harry's spell in mid air. Somehow the spells connected to each other, and the two moulded into one, so that one long beam spread from Harry's wand to Voldemort's.
He had never seen anything like it before, and he almost dropped his wand in shock alone, but Harry stood his ground and continued to concentrate. He had no idea how or why it was happening, but he wasn't dead yet, and that meant he would continue fighting.
Great shoots of light sprung out from the beam of light, almost like lightning bolts as the surprised death eaters watched with wide eyes. Some of them tried to move, but Voldemort calmly told them to stay where they were.
Harry's wand was vibrating so violently he was having trouble keeping a hold of it, and had to use both hands just to keep it steady. And yet at the same time he noticed that Voldemort's own wand was also shuddering under the pressure.
Suddenly a loud pop sounded in the air, and even though he kept his attention focused on Voldemort, Harry couldn't help the small sigh of relief that fell from his lips at the sight in front of him.
In the middle of the graveyard stood Sirius, Buffy and Remus, their shocked eyes taking in the scene in front of them.
Almost instantly there was a yell from one of the death eaters surrounding him, and Harry recognised the voice to belong to Barty. “You! How did you-”
Voldemort growled as his eyes took in the newcomers, “Leave the boy to me. Make sure they
don't leave alive.”
The silent death eaters sprung into action, and Harry's rescuers were forced to fight back. He could see the death eaters running around out of the corner of his eyes, see the flash of blonde as Buffy used both her wand and her fists to fight. He could hear the growls and grunts as they battled around him.
Jets of different coloured light flew through the air, some of them barely missing Harry and Voldemort who were still locked together, not taking their eyes away from the other.
Harry watched the beam of light between them, only then noticing a small bead of energy that sat in the middle of them. Voldemort obviously noticed it just then too as he mentally forced his power into the beam, sending the bead towards Harry.
He didn't know what would happen if the bead touched his wand, but the closer it came the harder it was to hold onto his spell. Harry growled as he tried to push the bead back the way it came, and thankfully, it began to slowly move back towards Voldemort.
It came so close to touching his wand, before he finally registered what Harry was up to, and forced his own energy into it to make it move back. But a sudden yell caught both of their attentions, and Harry turned to see a death eater fall to the floor after being stunned. One by one, the death eaters were slowly falling, their numbers becoming less and less.
Harry turned back to Voldemort, noticing how his snake-like enemy was still watching the ensuing fight rather than focusing on their connected wands. Harry took the opportunity to send the bead flying straight into Voldemort.
He had been expecting an explosion or the kind of reaction to send Voldemort flying backwards... What he hadn't expected was for the bead of energy to evaporate before his very eyes, the smoke rising into the air in small wisps.
Voldemort looked just as confused as he watched too. Slowly the smoke grew until the wisps became huge shapes floating in the air. Harry watched in awe as each slowly took the shape of a human figure. One was an old man, another a familiar woman, then there was one that looked exactly like Cedric. And then his mother and father were there, standing before him with smiles on their faces.
“Hold on, Harry.” Came his mother's soothing voice, “It'll be all right, just hold on.”
He had no idea how they were there, or even what they were. Were they ghosts? Reflections of the people Voldemort had killed? He didn't know and he didn't understand, but he listened to them anyway.
His father nodded to him, “When the connection is broken we will linger for only moments... But we will give you enough time. You must get away, do you understand, Harry?”
He barely choked out his words, “Yes, I understand.”
“Harry.” He turned to Cedric who was looking at him with a straight, almost saddened face. “Take my body back to my parents, won't you?”
“It is time, Harry.” His mother urged, “Let go.”
“Right!” Snapping his eyes away from his parents' faces, he caught gazes with Buffy and Remus, who were watching the scene with mixed expressions on their faces.
They nodded together and Harry let out a yell as he pulled his wand away from the beam of light, breaking it in two and severing the connection.
He spotted Sirius standing in the distance, holding Cedric's lifeless body in his arms. With a loud pop, he was gone.
Harry ran towards Buffy and Remus, holding out his hands to try and reach them quicker. He knew Voldemort was right behind him, yelling and crying out in anger.
His outstretched fingers grasped Buffy's hand, and she tugged him towards her as her other hand reached out for Remus'. And in an instant Harry felt himself lifted from the ground, the world spinning around him.
He was safe now.
But for how long?